In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said he expects that the U.S. pharmaceutical company will request and secure an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration within the next week and a half. The authorization will allow for the distribution of the vaccine in the United States during the public health crisis.
“I believe, with the impressive nature of the data, that that should go through smoothly that by the time we get into December, we will be able to have doses available for people who are judged to be at the highest priority to get it first,” he said.
His optimistic timeline follows Pfizer releasing early test results on Monday that showed its vaccine may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
Though high-priority doses may become available this year, public health officials do not expect that a vaccine will be widely available in the United States until 2021.
In a press briefing last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he expects that by early April, there will be “enough vaccine for all Americans who would want to take a vaccine.”
At least 10 other potential vaccine candidates are in late-stage clinical trials around the world. Moderna Inc., a U.S. company, has said that it also hopes to file an emergency use authorization application with the FDA later this month.